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  • Best recorder for live band rehearsals?

    Hi wonder if anyone can help. I'm thinking about trying to record my band playing live at our next rehearsal and I'm wondering about the best way to do it.
    I currently have a Tascam 4 track but you can't do any similtaneous recording on it. Can anyone tell me the best way to record using the 4 track or would I need a unit that has the capability of recording tracks similtaneously?
    I've seen 4 tracks on sale that allow you to record all 4 similtaneously and I wondering if this would work with a track dedicated to bass, guitar, drums and vocals respectively.

    can anyone advise me?

  • #2
    I have a Tascam 246 four track cassette multitrack recorder that record all four tracks simultaneously and have used it to record rehearsals and gigs with great success. Nice mixer with dual effect busses too.
    this sig no verb

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    • #3
      yeah i'm thinking thats the way to go - I can get a Tascam 414 Portastudio for

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Rivers
        yeah i'm thinking thats the way to go - I can get a Tascam 414 Portastudio for
        "(The New Testament) is a work of crude carpentry, hammered together long after its purported events, and full of improvised attempts to make things come out right." Christopher Hitchens, R.I.P

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        • #5
          Do you have a PA ??? I assume so.
          I've recently gotten some pretty clean rehearsal tapes from taking the stereo mixer outs from the PA and pluggin em into channels one and two of a TASCAM 242 Mark II portastudio. I also use a little ole Radio Shack stereo room mic (which actually is a cool little mic !), into channels 3 and 4, and buss em over to tracks one and two and mix in a bit of room sound. My musician friends who I've recorded at some recent jams and/or rehearsals have been kinda amazed at the decent sound quality of the jam/rehearsal tape (sure beats putting a little cassette recorder in the middle of the room . . . ).
          ----------------------------------------------------------------------
          BTW: in a pinch, if all you have is a typical home component stereo cassette recorder, you can do the same basic thing - - PA stereo outs into the cassette. You can even plug a room mic into the PA (but, you'll only be able to get a very small bit of room sound 'cause of the feedback loop that will ensue when you start to raise the levels on the PA channels for the room mics - - unless your mic has a lot of headroom ((like my little Radio Shack stereo mic does !!)) The nice thing about the 4 track cassette deck is you plug in the PA outs into the PortaStudio mixer channels one and two, and then plug the room mic(s) into channels 3 and 4, and mix the room mic(s) (via the busses) into the direct PA incoming signal going through channels 1 and 2 to tracks 1 and 2 (of the recorder in the Portastudio)
          ----------------------------------------------------------

          - You will have to play around with the levels and location of the speakers/monitors, ect . . ., cause you probably want to plug in to the PA all of the instruments or vocals you can (unless you've got a room mic (which you will need if you have live drums)), and even then I'd direct record the vocals, acoustic guitars, bass ((from line out on bassist amp)) find an acceptable middle point between the balance of vocals/instruments in the signal going into the recorder, and workable PA levels. I adjust levels by plugging headphones into the PortaStudio, to hear what's coming in.

          - Plus, after you've recorded, you can "mix" to a standalone CD burnder, or tape recorder, and add/subtrack some EQ, and even add some compression, or whatever gear you have that you might want to play with. You can even fiddle around and experiment, and add a couple of instruments after you've recorded the band, (to tracks 3 and 4) then "mix" down from there.

          Anyway - - if your talking about a cheap, decent rehearsal recording device for cheap, and don't want, or cannot, use your regular project studio hookup for rehearsals, I think a 424 Mark II portastudio is a great option, but your home cassette stereo recorder may work out acceptably, depending on your purposes.

          Gutter Pup

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          • #6
            yeah the rehearsal studios we use have pretty good PA's in each of the rooms. I guess I could try the way you described with my Tascam 4-track (Porta 02):-
            Bass amp DI'd into the PA, one mic for vocals, one mic on my guitar cab, one mic for the drum kit.
            You say I should be linking the two inputs on the 4-track to two stereo outs on the PA right?

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            • #7
              For recordings of rehearsals, I would just place a mic or two in the room from the audience perpective. This way you spend more time listening to rehearsal tapes rather than mixing them. These recordings will help the band learn to "mix" themselves in a live situation and listen to how tight the performance or song or arrangement is. I speak only from experience... I messed around with recording/mixing so much I ignored playing my instrument instead. Worry about demo recordings, etc. once the band and the songs are tight and ready to be recorded.
              "That's a matter of opinion. Like "a supermodel is less attractive than a sore-infested, poo-covered morbidly obese bald chick" is a matter of opinion."
              - Audacity Works

              "Ain't nobody ever walked down the street humming the sound of a microphone... it's all about 'the music'."
              -Fletcher

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              • #8
                The reason i wanted to record a practice is because I'm starting a new band and we need a drummer. I thought it would be useful to record full band versions of the songs we have so that in the event that someone is interested in drumming for us we can give them something to hear and also practice against.
                I gonna ask our old drummer to come down and hep us out recording the songs.
                My problem is that i'm unsure whether or not to go ahead and record the songs on tape or get a digital recorder and get them down on cd. I don't want to be in a situation where the songs sound really good but because they're on tape i can't get them on cd in order to send them to venues, promoters etc.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rivers
                  The reason i wanted to record a practice is because I'm starting a new band and we need a drummer. I thought it would be useful to record full band versions of the songs we have so that in the event that someone is interested in drumming for us we can give them something to hear and also practice against.
                  I gonna ask our old drummer to come down and hep us out recording the songs.
                  My problem is that i'm unsure whether or not to go ahead and record the songs on tape or get a digital recorder and get them down on cd. I don't want to be in a situation where the songs sound really good but because they're on tape i can't get them on cd in order to send them to venues, promoters etc.


                  My concern was you paying
                  "(The New Testament) is a work of crude carpentry, hammered together long after its purported events, and full of improvised attempts to make things come out right." Christopher Hitchens, R.I.P

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                  • #10
                    Rivers and Rimmer:

                    I take the stereo "mixer outs" from my Mackie powered PA mixer (there in case you'd want to use anothe power amp to power the system) and plug 'em in to channels 1 and 2, respectively, of the TASCAM 424 MK II. Then, as I said, I plug a stereo mic (two cables) either (1) into a couple of the channels on the Mackie PA (not the best cause of feedback problems when you turn the mic pre's up fairly high - - but, if I'm in a rush, I sometimes do this), or (2) into channels 3 + 4 of the recorder, and then buss this stereo signal into, and mix the signal with, the signal coming from the PA into channels 1 and 2 of the Portastudio.

                    I've even, in a rush/pinch, taken the RCA stereo outs on the Mackie (part of the CD/tape in-outs usually plugged into a player to play music during breakes) and plugged these into the Portastudio, or even a standard, good quality, TASCAM or other standard cassette recorder unit (always with high bias tapes !!).

                    BTW: a hard disk, multitrack recorder is probably quite nice for rehearsals and gig recording.

                    However, I'm talking cassette portastudios for a few reasons:
                    (1) cost: $between $50 and $125 used, and 90 or 60 minute high bias tapes are only about $1.25 or so (2) transportability: the PortaOne and PortaTwos (while not quite as nice as the 424 series, can run on batteries !!!)
                    So, you can take the deck anywhere, anytime, and not have to worry about being connected to AC power, (3) fast, easy set up:
                    about a couple of minutes if you know what you are doing, dedicated faders, no screwing around with scrolling, or trying to read the munchkin screen on a digital standalone recorder. Plug the mic in, set a level, turn down the bass eq a bit, turn up the treble a bit, push record. Done. (4) I'm talking about a standard, decent recording set up for rehearsals and gigs. For that extra special gig, when I'm willing to deal it, I could have someone operate my digital recorders while I play . . .

                    Again, a quality two track cassette recorder (like the old JVC unit I got off of Ebay, built like a tank, very full, nice sound, with inpute VU meters and a cover - - I guess it was formerly designed as a pro recorder for field recording for reporters or similar uses) will also run on batteries. Also, you can pop the recorded tape into someone's car stereo (if you recorded a gig), and immediately hear back exactly what you recorded).

                    BTW: My pesonal set up: If I need higher, pro type quality, I have "portable "TASCAM DA38, and Alesis M20 ADAT, 8 track digital tape recorders that I can throw into a rack along with a small mixer (such as the Alesis, 16 track Studio 32) and some mics, a few cables, and take that to a rehearsal or gig - - but someone else will probably have to man the engineering. . .

                    In the end, when I'm just jammin or rehearsing, or have to do the whole hauling and set up thing for a gig, I normally don't want to screw around with this and that. Especially during a gig: I'm concentrating on setting up my rig, including a Roland guitar synth, which can take some time. Plus, your always dealing with some B.S. or another: the sound man, your friends coming up and wanting to talk to you, the owner, problems with other equipment, like the P.A., sound checks, ect . . . I just normally don't want to deal with the whole side issue of worrying about the recording - - I gotta worry about my playing and my sound - - which is enough for my pea sized brain.

                    I personally, as a general rule, like the ability of taking my old Radio Shack, battery powered, stereo condensor mic, or a couple of battery powered AKG C1000s mics, and through them in a bag with a battery operated stereo cassette recorder, (or portable DAT recorder or mini disc recorder) or Portastudio, set up in a couple of minutes, push record, and not have to worry 'about anything (other than turning over the tape after 45 minutes (on a 90 minute cassette).

                    Just how I like to generally work, but, again, its only my own
                    1/2 cent-worth opinion.

                    Gutter Pup

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gutter Pup
                      Rivers and Rimmer:

                      I take the stereo "mixer outs" from my Mackie powered PA mixer (there in case you'd want to use anothe power amp to power the system) and plug 'em in to channels 1 and 2, respectively, of the TASCAM 424 MK II. Then, as I said, I plug a stereo mic (two cables) either (1) into a couple of the channels on the Mackie PA (not the best cause of feedback problems when you turn the mic pre's up fairly high - - but, if I'm in a rush, I sometimes do this), or (2) into channels 3 + 4 of the recorder, and then buss this stereo signal into, and mix the signal with, the signal coming from the PA into channels 1 and 2 of the Portastudio.


                      Sounds feasible.

                      I used to record full bands with a Tascam Porta 1 when they came out. I thought I was a proper engineer in those days . It was the years leading up to me going to college. I used to get some pretty decent results with a simple stereo mix then a couple of dubs with the remaining tracks. Lots of bouncing down..!

                      PZM's were my friend. I even used to use one on a certain female vocalist at one point. Great room mic.
                      "(The New Testament) is a work of crude carpentry, hammered together long after its purported events, and full of improvised attempts to make things come out right." Christopher Hitchens, R.I.P

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